What if the Alleged Victim Wasn’t Actually Injured?
Oct. 2, 2023
Under Texas law, domestic violence does not have to result in physical injuries to a spouse, family member, partner, or person in a dating relationship. The violence can also exist of threats and verbal abuse. Police will come to investigate when someone reports a domestic violence abuse, but showing that such an event actually occurred still needs to be proven if charges are filed.
Often, the defendant – the person accused of the abuse – will be their own worst enemy by trying to defuse or explain the situation to authorities, or to their alleged victim. In a situation where you feel guilty, but are being questioned, it can be tough to follow the words of the Miranda Rights warning: “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”
If you are being investigated for or accused of domestic violence in or around Houston, Texas, contact the criminal defense attorney at the Walker Law Office.
Attorney Mekisha Jane Walker will work with you on a strong defensive strategy, including presenting your side of the story to prosecutors to seek a lesser charge or even a dropped charge, if not a plea bargain to avoid trial altogether. She proudly serves clients not only in the Houston area, but throughout the counties of Harris, Galveston, Montgomery, Fort Bend, and Brazoria, Texas.
Understanding Domestic Violence Laws and Allegations
According to the Texas Advocacy Project, one in three Texans will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 are the most likely to experience such abuse, running at three times the national rate in Texas. Even one in four men will experience domestic violence; however, women are generally the most susceptible.
Texas law uses the term “family violence” to describe incidents of threats, abuse, assault, and physical injury (including homicide) among individuals in a relationship, whether it be through marriage, cohabitation, family ties, adoptive or foster situations, or just through dating. As mentioned earlier, domestic violence does not need to actually result in physical harm, or even sexual assault or rape. It can also result in emotional harm through threats, isolation, stalking, or other means to abuse the other party in the relationship.
Role of Injuries in a Domestic Violence Legal Case
Obviously, if the victim has physical injuries that can be presented as evidence in a domestic violence case, that certainly helps prove that abuse took place, but bruises, cuts, lacerations, and other physical marks are not the only measures of what domestic violence consists of. Emotional abuse, intimidation, isolation, and other verbal and personal assaults can undermine someone’s self-confidence and feeling of worth, leading to insecurity and the inability to function fully in life.
Economic abuse is another strategy to victimize a partner. Withholding support or limiting access to family or joint funds can deprive the other person of the resources to succeed in life, even to pay their bills or support themselves.
Building a Defense Against a Domestic Violence Charge
The first step in any criminal investigation, whether for domestic violence or any other charge, is for you, the accused, to invoke your Fifth and Sixth Amendment Rights. The Fifth Amendment gives you the right to remain silent – not to incriminate yourself. The Sixth Amendment gives you a right to legal counsel when facing a criminal investigation or charge. You need to use both, immediately.
As noted earlier, many accused of domestic violence often incriminate themselves by trying to explain their actions or what happened before police arrive. The best advice is not to say anything until you have legal counsel on your side, advising you.
Those practical steps aside, there are also credible defenses you can employ if matters end up in court, or even before a trial is ordered, for instance:
The incident was unintentional or a mistake.
You had lack of knowledge of what was occurring.
No offense occurred.
You acted in self-defense.
Discuss Your Case With a Trusted Attorney
Domestic violence incidents can result in a misdemeanor or a felony charge depending on the circumstances. You need to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney from the moment of your arrest and investigation before even talking to authorities or answering their questions.
If you’re in or around Houston and you’re facing a domestic violence investigation or charge, contact the Walker Law Office. Attorney Mekisha Jane Walker will work with you collaboratively on a strategy aimed at the best possible outcome. Your first consultation is free.